Treatment Helps Prevent Transmission To Others
- If you have an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
- Having an undetectable viral load may also help prevent transmission from injection drug use. We dont have data about whether having an undetectable viral load prevents transmission through sharing needles, syringes, or other injection equipment . It very likely reduces the risk, but we dont know by how much.
- Having an undetectable viral load also helps prevent transmission from mother to baby. If a mother with HIV takes HIV medicine as prescribed throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery and gives HIV medicine to her baby for 4 to 6 weeks after birth, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby can be 1% or less.
- Having an undetectable viral load reduces the risk of transmitting HIV to the baby through breastfeeding, but doesnt eliminate the risk. The current recommendation in the United States is that mothers with HIV should not breastfeed their babies.
First Stage: Acute Hiv Infection Symptoms
Most people don’t know right away when they’ve been infected with HIV. But they may have symptoms within 2 to 6 weeks after theyâve gotten the virus. This is when your body’s immune system puts up a fight. It’s called acute retroviral syndrome or primary HIV infection.
- Ulcers in your mouth, esophagus, anus, or genitals
- Headache and other neurological symptoms
If you have symptoms like these and might have come into contact with someone with HIV in the past 2 to 6 weeks, go to a doctor and ask that you get an HIV test. If you donât have symptoms but still think you might have come into contact with the virus, get tested.
Early testing is important for two reasons. First, at this stage, levels of HIV in your blood and bodily fluids are very high. This makes it especially contagious. Second, starting treatment as soon as possible might help boost your immune system and ease your symptoms.
A combination of medications can help fight HIV, keep your immune system healthy, and keep you from spreading the virus. If you take these medications and have healthy habits, your HIV infection probably wonât get worse.
Hiv Stigma And Discrimination
HIV can prompt intense feelings in people, regardless of their HIV status. It is sometimes viewed with a sense of unacceptability or disgrace. A person with HIV may feel shame and despair about their status. An HIV-negative person may be fearful or angry when they discover someone has HIV. The relationship of these feelings to HIV is referred to as stigma.Felt stigma refers to deep feelings of shame and self-loathing, and the expectation of discrimination. It can have serious negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV by discouraging them from getting tested, receiving support, or taking treatment. It may also lead people to engage in high-risk behaviours that harm their health, and contribute to new HIV infections.Enacted stigma is the experience of unfair treatment by others. For people living with HIV this can be in the form of being treated differently and poorly, or through rejection, abuse, or discrimination.HIV stigma is particularly harmful when it overlaps with other factors that are stigmatised such as if a person uses drugs, is a sex worker, is trans or gender diverse.Breaking down stigma is a community response where:
If you have experienced stigma or discrimination from a health care provider, and are unable to resolve your complaint with them directly, contact the Health Complaints Commissioner
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Disclosure Policies In Correctional Facilities
Any individual who believes that his or her employment rights have been violated may file a charge of discrimination with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission . In addition, an individual, an organization, or an agency may file a charge on behalf of another person in order to protect the aggrieved person’s identity.
What Does A Negative Hiv Test Result Mean
A negative result doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have HIV. That’s because of the window periodthe time between when a person gets HIV and when a test can accurately detect it. The window period varies from person to person and is also different depending upon the type of HIV test.
Ask your health care provider about the window period for the kind of test youre taking. If youre using a home test, you can get that information from the materials included in the tests package. If you get an HIV test after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again after the window period for the test youre using to be sure. To learn more about the window period and when a person should get retested, see CDCs How soon after an exposure to HIV can an HIV test if I am infected?. If you get an HIV test within 3 months after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again in 3 more months to be sure.
If you learned you were HIV-negative the last time you were tested, you can only be sure youre still negative if you havent had a potential HIV exposure since your last test. If youre sexually active, continue to take actions to prevent HIV, like using condoms the right way every time you have sex and taking medicines to prevent HIV if youre at high risk.
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When To Get Tested
Seek medical advice immediately if;you think there’s a chance you could have HIV. The earlier;it’s diagnosed, the earlier you can start treatment and avoid becoming seriously ill.
Some HIV tests may need to be repeated 1-3 months after exposure to HIV infection, but you should not wait this long to seek help.
A GP or a sexual health professional can talk to you about having a test and discuss whether you should take emergency HIV medicine.
Anti-HIV medicine called post-exposure prophylaxis may stop you becoming infected if taken within 72 hours of being exposed to the virus.;
Where Can You Get Tested For Hiv
You can get an HIV test at many places:
- Your health care providers office
- Health clinics or community health centers
- STD or sexual health clinics
- Your local health department
- Substance abuse prevention or treatment programs
Many pharmacies and some community-based organizations also offer HIV testing.
HIV testing is covered by health insurance without a co-pay, as required by the Affordable Care Act. If you do not have health insurance, some testing sites may offer free tests.
These places can connect you to HIV care and treatment if you test positive or can discuss the best HIV prevention options for you if you test negative.
You can also buy a home testing kit at a pharmacy or online.
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Early Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv In Men
Early symptoms of HIV in men are often vague and unspecific.
In men, initial HIV symptoms are typically unspecific. Early symptoms are usually bearable and frequently mistaken for flu or another mild condition. People may easily underestimate them or mistake them for minor health conditions.
Men can experience flu-like symptoms some days to weeks after contracting the virus, which may include:
- pain in the joints
- swollen lymph nodes
Men may undervalue initial symptoms and put off seeing a doctor until the symptoms worsen, by which time the infection might have advanced.
The fact that some men do not seek timely treatment may be why the virus affects men more severely than women.
Although scientists and researchers have made significant progress in the prevention and treatment of HIV over the last decades, it remains a serious health problem in most countries around the world.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , in 2016, an estimated 39,782 people were diagnosed with HIV in the U.S.
Although the number of new diagnoses fell by 5 percent between 2011 and 2015, there were still around 1.1 million people in the U.S. living with HIV in 2015.
A higher number of men than women are living with the virus. By the end of 2010,
In 2016, 44 percent of new HIV diagnoses were among African Americans, compared with 26 percent among white people and 25 percent among Hispanics and Latinos.
What You Can Do
Get tested for HIV. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. People with certain risk factors should get tested at least once a year.
If you were HIV-negative the last time you were tested and answer yes to any of the following questions, you should get an HIV test because these things inc rease your chances of getting HIV.
- Are you a man who has had sex with another man?
- Have you had sex —anal or vaginal— with a partner who has HIV?
- Have you had more than one sex partner since your last HIV test?
- Do you have another sexually transmitted disease ?
- Do you have hepatitis or tuberculosis ?
- Have you had sex with someone who could answer yes to any of these questions or someone whose sexual history you dont know?
You should be tested at least once a year if you answered yes to any of these questions. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing , depending on their risk.
If you think youve recently been exposed to HIV during sex or through sharing needles, syringes, or other injection equipment , talk to your health care provider or an emergency room doctor right away about taking post-exposure prophylaxis . You must start PEP within 72 hours of a possible exposure, but the sooner you start PEP, the better.
Also, anyone who has been sexually assaulted should get an HIV test as soon as possible after the assault.
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How Can You Prevent Hiv
HIV is often spread by people who don’t know they have it. So it’s always important to protect yourself and others by taking these steps:
- Practice safer sex. Use a condom every time you have sex until you are sure that you and your partner aren’t infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted infection .
- Don’t have more than one sex partner at a time. The safest sex is with one partner who has sex only with you.
- Talk to your partner before you have sex the first time. Find out if he or she is at risk for HIV. Get tested together. Use condoms in the meantime.
- Don’t drink a lot of alcohol or use illegal drugs before sex. You might let down your guard and not practice safer sex.
- Don’t share personal items, such as toothbrushes or razors.
- Never share needles or syringes with anyone.
- People whose sexual practices put them at high risk for HIV infection, such as men who have sex with men and people who have many sex partners.
- People who inject illegal drugs, especially if they share needles.
- Adults who have a sex partner with HIV.
To keep your risk low, you still need to practice safer sex even while you are taking the medicine.
How Can You Help Someone Who Has Been Newly Diagnosed With Hiv
There are many things that you can do to help a friend or loved one who has been recently diagnosed with HIV:
If you are the sexual partner of someone who has been diagnosed with HIV, you should also get tested so that you know your own HIV status. If you test negative, talk to your healthcare provider about PrEP , taking HIV medicine daily to prevent HIV infection. PrEP is recommended for people at high risk of HIV infection, including those who are in a long-term relationship with a partner who has HIV. If you test positive, get connected to HIV treatment and care as soon as possible.
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You Cant Get Hiv From Just Any Kind Of Contact
Myths still abound about HIV/AIDS. For example, you cant get HIV from insect bites or stings, hugging, shaking hands, or sharing toilets or dishes, according to the CDC. You also cant get infected from a closed-mouth kiss or contact with an infected persons sweat or tears. You cant get it by simply working or hanging out with someone who has AIDS or is HIV positive, either. HIV transmission from one woman to another woman through sexual contact is also rare, the CDC says.
How Hiv Is Not Spread
The virus doesn’t survive well outside the body. So HIV cannot be spread through casual contact with an infected person, such as by sharing drinking glasses, by casual kissing, or by coming into contact with the person’s sweat or urine.
It is now extremely rare in Canada or the United States for HIV to be transmitted by blood transfusions or organ transplants.
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Hiv Has A Powerful Opponent
Before 1996, contracting the HIV was basically a death sentence. But then, over the course of the next two decades, a regimen of drugs known as;antiretroviral therapy; evolved and came into use. This drug regimen helps prevent the virus from replicating and can help keep the;infection from causing AIDS, transforming a fatal disease into a manageable one. These drugs have been an amazing scientific advancement, Dr. Santiago says. Most of the people who die nowadays are those who are unaware they have until symptoms become severe. Even people who think they may have been exposed to HIV have options if they act very quickly. The CDC advises you to alert your healthcare provider and start a regimen of ART medicines called post-exposure prophylaxis within 72 hours.
Hiv Symptoms Every Woman Needs To Know
Human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, attacks the bodys infection-fighting immune system. Without treatment, HIV;can lead to AIDS . At the start of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, people who were infected with HIV quickly progressed to serious disease. But todays treatments;help lower the amount of virus in the bloodso people who are HIV-positive can live healthier, longer lives and not necessarily;progress to AIDS.
More than one million people in the US live with HIV, and scarily, one in seven of them dont know they have it. HIV symptoms can be hard to detect. Within a month or two of HIV entering the body, 40% to 90% of people experience flu-like symptoms known as acute retroviral syndrome . But sometimes HIV symptoms don’t appear for yearsor even a decadeafter infection.
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“In the early stages of HIV infection, the most common symptoms are none,” Michael Horberg, MD, director of HIV/AIDS for Kaiser Permanente, in Oakland, California, tells Health. As many as one;in five people in the United States with HIV doesn’t know they have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control . That’s why it’s so important to get tested, especially if you currently have or have had unprotected sex with more than one partner or use intravenous drugs.
HIV symptoms for women and for men are often the same; here are 16 of the most common signs.
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Symptoms And Stages Of Hiv Infection
- There are three stages of HIV infection. The symptoms vary in type and severity from person-to-person.
- Stage 1 after initial infection can feel like flu but not everyone will experience this.
- Stage 2 is when many people start to feel better and may last for 10 years or more. During this time a person may have no symptoms.
- Stage 3 is when a persons immune system is very badly damaged and can no longer fight off serious infections and illnesses.
- The earlier a person is diagnosed with HIV and starts treatment, the better their health will be over time.
- Some people dont get any symptoms during stages 1 and 2, and may not know they have the virus, but they can still pass on HIV.
The signs of HIV infection can vary in type and severity from person-to-person, and some people may not have any symptoms for many years.
The stages below describe how HIV infection progresses in the body if it is left untreated. Without antiretroviral treatment for HIV, the virus replicates in the body and causes more and more damage to the immune system.
However with effective treatment, you can keep the virus under control and stop it from progressing. This is why its important to start treatment as soon as possible after testing positive.
Hiv Is More Complex Than You Might Think
Newspaper and magazine articles often refer to HIV as if it were just one entity, but there are in fact two strains of the virus: HIV-1 and HIV-2. Most of the HIV infections in the United States and around the world are HIV-1. If its not treated, HIV-1 causes AIDS, the CDC notes. The other type of HIV HIV-2 is found mostly in West Africa. Its rare in the United States and is also less likely to lead to AIDS.
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Treatment Reduces The Amount Of Hiv In The Blood
- The amount of HIV in the blood is called viral load.
- Taking your HIV medicine as prescribed will help keep your viral load low and your CD4 cell count high.
- HIV medicine can make the viral load very low . Viral suppression is defined as having less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.
- HIV medicine can make the viral load so low that a test cant detect it .
- If your viral load goes down after starting HIV treatment, that means treatment is working. Continue to take your medicine as prescribed.
- If you skip your medications, even now and then, you are giving HIV the chance to multiply rapidly. This could weaken your immune system, and you could become sick.
- Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load is the best way to stay healthy and protect others.